Posts Tagged ‘policy options’

Insurer may have violated law, report reveals

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

A high-profile California insurance company that is backing a controversial insurance measure on the June ballot has engaged in practices that may be illegal, including deceptive pricing and discrimination against consumers such as active members of the military and drivers of emergency vehicles, according to a state report obtained by The Chronicle.The report, obtained through the state Public Records Act, alleges that Mercury Insurance Group may have violated Proposition 103, the landmark consumer protection law approved by voters in 1988. The measure limited the cost of policies and made civil rights and antitrust laws apply to the insurance industry.

The 275-page report by the state Department of Insurance was authorized for release by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. The documents, which cover the firm’s practices from the mid-1990s to 2004, are the state’s most recent completed investigation of the company.

In its reporting, the state found evidence that Mercury may have violated state laws by:

– Flagging some consumers for higher rates if they had been in an accident, even if it was not their fault.

– Not immediately granting coverage to applicants including military personnel on active duty, “artists,” those employed “in the entertainment industry as actors, dancers, etc.,” and emergency vehicle drivers.

– Raising insurance premiums after its sales agents quoted prices for discounts for which the consumer was not eligible. The department said this was the single largest category of complaints it received about the firm.

– Collecting higher premiums than allowed by law by requiring its brokers to return part of their fees to the company.

– Requesting information about customers’ “national origin,” a practice that the department said “could raise questions about the legality of Mercury’s personal automobile policy cancellation and non-renewal decisions” under state law. Mercury agreed to block such data after the state investigators raised concerns.

State officials said the report uncovered 25 issues or questionable practices by Mercury, seven of which remain unresolved.

Kathy Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for the company, disputed the state’s findings and said consumer groups intend to use the report to “muddy the waters” regarding Proposition 17, the June ballot measure that Mercury is backing.

“We’re talking about issues years ago that have been addressed and taken care of,” Fairbanks said. “I’m not going to respond (to details of the report) because it’s unrelated to Prop. 17, which is what voters are going to review.”

Fairbanks said the June measure, called the “Continuous Coverage Discount Initiative,” would increase competition and lower rates by providing auto insurance discounts to millions of Californians who “continually maintain” auto insurance coverage, an idea she said has been backed by groups including the California Chamber of Commerce.

Mercury put up $3.5 million last year to back a group called “Californians for Fair Auto Insurance Rates” to support Prop. 17, which consumer advocates say would dramatically change state auto insurance laws.

Prop. 17 affects rates

A leading consumer advocate was quick to respond to the state report.

“In my career as a consumer advocate, I’ve never seen such a devastating indictment of a single insurance company,” said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica and author of Prop. 103. He called the practices “illegal, unfair and un-American,” saying “it’s shocking that Mercury so brazenly defied the law for so many years.”

Rosenfield said Prop. 17 will allow Mercury to raise rates for Californians not previously insured or those who let their insurance lapse – a practice that is illegal under Prop. 103.

“What’s outrageous is that Mercury is spending millions on an initiative to legalize the kind of discriminatory surcharges that they were caught doing by (state) investigators,” Rosenfield said.

Poizner said he could not comment on his department’s findings on the company because his office is involved in an administrative action against Mercury for non-compliance on an issue dating back to 1998 that surfaced in the state’s examination of the company.

But the insurance commissioner, who is a Republican candidate for governor in the June primary election, said that if the state finds any insurance company to have violated the law, he will “come down on them like a ton of bricks.”

Mercury’s performance and its political muscle could also play out in the governor’s race this year. The company and its chairman, George Joseph, have donated more than $7.2 million to state political campaigns in the past decade and rank among California’s most deep-pocketed political donors.

In 2009, Mercury donated $13,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Jerry Brown but has not donated to Poizner’s campaign for governor.

Former state insurance commissioner John Garamendi, now a congressman, said that starting in 2002 his office “received complaints about Mercury’s practices – and those complaints rose to the level where we felt it was necessary to investigate.”

Under Poizner, who was elected insurance commissioner in 2006, the state has continued to investigate Mercury, the parent firm to the state’s third-largest auto insurance firm, which serves 10 percent of the market in California, records show.

“Mercury has a deserved reputation for abusing its customers and intentionally violating the law with arrogance and indifference,” the state department wrote in a Feb. 20, 2009, legal filing related to its administrative case.

Since 2006, the state has fined Mercury $600,000 for violations based on its own examinations and for consumer complaints about the firm, state officials said.

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Political clout

Garamendi and others said Mercury has a reputation for playing political hardball.

In 1996, when then-state Senate Pro Tem Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, opposed Mercury’s effort to amend Prop. 103, company chairman Joseph responded by writing a $500,000 check – to the state GOP.

“What really perturbed me is that, instead of cleaning up their act, they decided to try and change the law – to make legal what was illegal,” Garamendi said. “They went at it through the Legislature and we ultimately defeated that. And now they’ve come back with Prop. 17 … so they can do what is fundamentally unfair to the consumer.”

Fairbanks argued that Prop. 17 “levels the playing field and allows all the insurers to offer the same discount, which ultimately drives down rates” to benefit California drivers with good records who’ve maintained their auto insurance coverage.

Rosenfield said Poizner “deserves accolades for disclosing an examination that is important for the public to consider – not just customers of Mercury but voters who will have to assess the credibility of this initiative.”

Consumer Watchdog has urged Brown – who has yet to formally declare himself a candidate for governor – to consider revising the title and summary for Prop. 17 that will appear on the ballot. The group argues that Brown’s ballot description failed to mention that the measure could lead to higher rates for some Californians.

Brown’s office has said the summary accurately reflects changes in the initiative and its impacts. A nonpartisan analysis of Prop. 17 on the insurance commissioner’s Web site says some consumers will get discounts under the initiative but it “will result in a surcharge for other drivers.”

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© 2010 Hearst Communications Inc.

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Google Video World Most New Best Man Pic

Monday, January 25th, 2010

What’s with that title? Read the story to find out more.

diggPeople want to know how to get there story onto the front page of Digg. Digg is huge and if you make the front page, Digg can send you thousands of visitors. The title of this story contains the 8 Most dugg words on DIGG that aren’t filler words like the, to, of, ect…

Here is there order:

1 Pic

2 Video

3 New

4 World

5 Google

6 Best

7 Man

8 Most

If you want to get a complete list of dugg words Check This Out.

Let’s see how many times this page gets dugg and if it shows up on the front page of Digg.

This information was brought to you by QuoteMatcher.com where you can Compare Insurance Quotes, Compare Contractors and Compare Home Service Estimates.

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What No-Fault Auto Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
No Fault Coverage

No Fault Coverage

In most states, the no-fault law specifically excludes property damage liability for damage that you cause to the property of others. If you are at fault in such anaccident, you will be held liable and can be sued for these losses.

Only in a limited number of states does the no-fault law extend some coverage to damage you may cause another driver’s automobile. Furthermore, even in these limited cases, property damage liability coverage does not extend to your car. You must
buy a separate collision coverage to take care of this risk.

You should be aware that this is just  general overview of no-fault laws governing insurance. For specific information about the no fault law and insurance in your state, contact your state insurance department. Most state insurance departments have written consumer information that will outline the specific limits and responsibilities for auto insurance in their state.

Complete a free auto insurance quote at QuoteMatcher.com and receive a free 12 page auto insurance buyers guide detailing and explaining multiple auto insurance coverage and car insurance discounts.

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Today’s Insurance Safety Tips – Cold Weather

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

It’s that time of the year again.  The chill creeps into you bones.  They also creep into the bones of you home and car.  Make sure to take some preventive measure to make sure you home and vehicle are in tip top shape.

You Home.  Make sure to turn off all water going to outside faucets as they may burst due to the cold.   If you have any pipes in outside soffits that you can get to make sure they are insulated.  Make sure outside gutters are clean.  In winter run off water can collect and freeze and if gutters are clogged it may cause water damage to roof and beams adjacent to the gutters and downspouts.

Car Maintenance.  Make sure your tire pressure is set correctly.  This helps with tire traction during cold weather.  Change your windshield washer fluid to a de-icer fluid during the winter.  This way it won’t freeze and you can use it to clear morning frost from your windshield.  Do a radiator flush changing your antifreeze this will help your car run better in cold weather.  Other things to consider is to keep a warm blank and some packaged food/snacks in the car in case you break down and need to stay the night.

As always if you are looking to save money on your insurance.  Take a look at Auto Insurance Quotes and Homeowners Insurance Quotes to compare rates from multiple companies by completing one simply form.

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Useful Idaho Auto Insurance and Vehicle Registration Facts

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Idaho Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles

Idaho Auto Insurance Liability Minimum:

* $25,000 for injury/death for one person.

* $50,000 for injury/death to more than one person

* $15,000 for damage to property.

NOTE: Operators of off-road all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorbikes must comply with financial responsibility requirements when riding on public roads.

Financial Responsibility And Proof of Auto Insurance

Upon registering your vehicle you’ll be asked to sign a statement confirming your auto is insured. Idaho requires you to carry proof of insurance whenever driving your automobile. To comply with this you must have:

* An insurance identification card provided by your carrier.

* Proof of an indemnity bond provided either by your broker or the DMV.


Idaho first time registration
:

There are several reasons you may need to register your vehicle for a first time, including:

* Established Idaho residency

* Purchased a used car from a private party

* Transferred ownership to you via gift, family or inheritance

Upon buying a auto within state lines, you have 30 days to register it. There is a $20 late fee if this time period is exceeded. If you are transferring a vehicle from another state, the 30-day clock begins the day you bring it into Idaho.

If you just became a resident of Idaho, you have 90 days to register with Idaho’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

NOTE: Before registering, you must first title your vehicle.

Idaho Vehicle Registration Renewal
:

This service is currently available for registrants in the following counties:
Ada, Adams, Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Camas, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Madison, Minidoka, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Shoshone, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington County

Commercial vehicles need to Use the Full Fee Vehicle Registration Renewal.

The following plate types can not currently be renewed online in Idaho: Boats, Classic, Dealer, Exempt, Legislative, Loaner, Off-Road, Old Timer, Repossession, Snowmobiles and Transporter.

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NJ Non Medical Exam Life Insurance and Mortgage Protection Insurance

Friday, December 18th, 2009

A broken healthcare system and still-high unemployment rates has many people in New Jersey worried about how they’ll manage the costs if there is a death in the family or a threat of losing their home due to unemployment. There are two options that any life insurance policy holder needs to consider that can put their mind at ease.

NJ Non Medical Exam Life Insurance

You’ve seen the commercials for life insurance that doesn’t require a physical examination. For many people, this alleviates a lot of the hassle and lab costs that comes along with obtaining a life insurance policy. Non medical exam life insurance NJ allows New Jersey residents to fill out an online form to obtain life insurance that can protect their family in case of their death.

Many older people rely on this type of insurance to increase the protection they have. Because they have more medical concerns than younger life insurance policy holders, it is important that senior citizens have easy access to policy options of this nature.

Mortgage Protection Insurance NJ

The same urgency surrounds the need for NJ mortgage protection insurance.  Although it is rare for mortgage protection insurance NJ to be added-on to a life insurance policy, it is sometimes an option. If your current life insurance policy doesn’t offer it, there is another way of insuring your home in the case of unemployment.

Opening an additional term life insurance policy is a cost-effective way to insure your home, your income and your life.

When shopping for life insurance in NJ, keep in mind that with the non medical exam life insurance and mortgage protection insurance, there is relief for both current medical conditions and the state of the economy.

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2010 Business Options Improve with Affiliate Marketing For Realtors

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

2009 is winding to a close, and many realtors are considering their 2010 options to increase their business. As the real estate market slowly crawls back towards viability, the prospects for the New Year are better than last years, but still not what could be called robust. Quotematcher is proud to offer our real estate partners a real estate income option to enhance their bottom line while giving them a unique service to provide their prospective clients that will also help to build their real estate business.

quotematcherlogo1. You Sign up as an Affiliate in our Program. Click Here
2. You provide your unique link to your clients.
3. They complete a quote YOU GET PAID.

Enhanced Service for Potential Clients

Realtors® know that homebuyers need to make home owners insurance research part of their home purchase, and it has often been the practice of Realtors® to suggest potential companies for their clients to use for their insurance needs. Quotematcher’s Realtor Affiliate Marketing takes this process to the next level by allowing our real estate partners the ability to supply their clients a one-stop-shop for homeowners insurance where they can compare quotes and policy options from multiple homeowners’ insurance vendors at once. It saves the homebuyers time and allows the realtor to benefit from the affiliate marketing benefits.

Better Service = Easy Income

By offering this easy-to-use and unique service to real estate buyers, every Affiliate Marketing real estate partner with QuoteMatcher has the potential to increase their real estate business. For every registration on the site made through their affiliate marketing account, they will reap the financial benefits of the only Two-Tier affiliate marketing program in the industry.  Learn more about the affiliate marketing benefits here.

By suggesting that their fellow realtors register as affiliates with Quotematcher.com, our real estate partners have the added benefit of second-tier income, which is unique to the this type of affiliate marketing. It’ a win-win for our real estate partners and their potential clients.

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